Character Over Nationality
This post was taken from the article comments on the Arsenal: The Last Big English Club article, and I thought it deserved a wider audience.
I do believe that these 'non-English' jibes are based on nothing more than pure jealousy (have you noticed the clubs these criticisms are coming from are more than happy to accommodate foreign players when it suits them. Can you say that they would turn down players of the class of Henry just because he isn't English? I think not. They'd sell their granny to have a player that talented that loves their club as much as TH loves Arsenal) I think alot of fans get confused between nationality and spirit.
We all know that every club has it's own 'personality' or character - prioritising different attributes, placing importance on different qualities, different ways of doing things. I believe that what fans actually look for in players is what we call 'English spirit' (think Terry Butcher, never-say-die, unquestionable loyalty, get stuck in, etc.), and that the influx of money into the game has 'watered down' the amount of visible players who possess these qualities (diving, cheating and conning are more abundant as some players do not have that 'I'll fight to stay on my feet' mentality, thinking more along the lines of 'I'll get that penalty/free kick if I flop over like an oscar nominee') It's seriously misguided, though, if we think that all English players possess these qualities and no foreign players do.
I have no doubts about the character of the players that AW has signed - I actually believe that the character of players is as important to him as their playing skills (who wants a flash diver that thinks he's bigger than the club he plays for, no matter how technically brilliant) For all the money that they earn, I have seen most of our players kiss the Arsenal badge on their shirt, proud to wear it - that's the kind of player I want in an Arsenal shirt.
Our players possess what we term as English spirit, despite not been born here - it's definitely about character and not nationality.
With regard to our board - I have been proud that they have conducted the growth of Arsenal Football Club in a very intelligent way, and am proud that we are still domestically owned. I do worry about our future - they must at some point be looking to retire - I just hope that their love of Arsenal (and I do believe that AFC is as much in the blood of the board as it is in the fans) will have some influence as to their decision, as and when they make it. Just an afterthought - all this criticism of us being non English - if I remember rightly our 1979 FA cup winning side had 7 non English players, I don't remember any jibes then.
Article 'submitted' by Bergkampsboot
Articles submitted by Vital Arsenal members are based on the opinion of the member and not necessarily the view's of the network itself.